Episode 11 – ‘Want to Know What You’re Playing For?’ OR ‘Bog Save the Queen’

Does being confused about how we got here make you hangry? If so you can satisfy that hanger here.

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Luke the green-grocer delivers sharks?! My green-grocer doesn’t deliver sharks. You just sit and scan at ALDI don’t you Janice?

Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? I’m pretty rotten on tonight’s episode. If you’re familiar with Drop Your Buffs! then you likely already know my feelings around tricking the players. To me that’s not Survivor and to be honest, it’s not even fun for the general viewing public. I asked Grant Denyer, he surveyed 100 people about this and 99 said “this is shit…”. The one person left was AK and his response was “are you homosexual?”. There’s not really much strategy to talk about tonight, but let’s do what we gotta do and analyze this shit.

Words matter.

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Everyone wants to hear the words that matter most. Another shout out from the J-LaP himself. Cheers compadre.

Is this chance at an idol a chance at a ‘reward’ as described by J-LaP, or is it a chance at an ‘advantage’? To anybody who has watched more than one season of Survivor then ‘rewards’ and ‘advantages’ are words that have very different meanings in Survivor. I know in the past I’ve scoffed at the fan uproar that resulted from the first tribe shuffle being called a ‘merge’. That’s a debate I have no time for, it really doesn’t matter what it’s called because we know what it is when we see it. But in this situation, the players don’t get to see it. They do however need to adjust their gameplay based on what it is. The ‘winner’ of this tribal council has a chance at an advantage. Knowing that it gives you a chance at an advantage changes completely the strategy and tactics that one might employ in this scenario. It was good to see J-LaP cop a grilling at tribal for a change. When Ben started speculating on what the “reward” might be I thought we were only a step away from someone asking J-LaP directly whether it was a reward or an advantage. Unfortunately they never got that far, or if they did, we didn’t see it.
To me, if you’ve got a chance at advantage, my first instinct is that you don’t want the advantage if it means that everyone knows you have an advantage, unless you’re in a particularly hairy spot (and I’m certainly not talking about Luke’s scrotum). Your best bet is to give it to someone that you are close enough to that you may have some power over how it is played, or at the very least know what and where it is.

Anarchy in the UK

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AK did his best to poke this bear, now who’s “totes homo”?

I would even argue that you might consider throwing the challenge. It just adds another level of complexity, something more you need to keep track of. Male Rebel Wilson (AK) might argue that anything that adds panic and fear in the tribe is good. I would disagree if that something is an unknown something, especially an unknown something that has been called by the host himself ‘the ultimate reward’, that’s fire you don’t want to play with even if you are a hangry Locky. If you don’t think there’s a merge/shuffle coming soon then I would seriously consider letting the other tribe deal with that wasp’s nest. The last thing that I will say about this twist is that as far as a way to have an episode without someone going home, at least this beats what they did last week and have done in the past by blindsiding players with a tribe swapping tribal outcome.

Swamp Thing

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🎵🎵Can’t start a fire without a spark. Samatau’s now got fire. And Ziggy’s left to go schlomping in the dark.🎵🎵

Regardless of my feelings about this twist we find ourselves in a situation where Ziggy is given a shot at the advantage. This was a good move for everyone (except perhaps Ziggy, who already seemed in a good position). Certainly it would have been better for Henry and Locky if either of them found it because they are in the tightest situation at Samatau. But I don’t think Ziggy having it is necessarily bad for them. The thinking to give it to someone trustworthy who is likely to share with the tribe makes perfect sense. And if it turns out that she is sketchy about it, well she becomes too much of a threat and you try and take her out, or at the very least make her play her advantage. What should she do with it from here? Good question Russell. Well, first of all I hope she kept the little statue that it was in as something that she may be able to bluff with in the future. In fact if I were her, and I were also a good liar, then I would tell the rest of the tribe that the statue is the reward, and that it was some sort of legacy advantage similar to Millenials/GenX for her to give to the person of her choice, and hope that the lie isn’t exposed before you need to use the actual super-idol. Of course if I were me, I wouldn’t be in this position because I would do my best not to be chosen to get it. Of course she could just tell the tribe exactly what it was but that she didn’t find it, or only tell a very select few that she did. A risky move, no matter how good a liar you are there would always be the suspicion that she has it. I honestly don’t know what I’d do in her situation. I’m completely bumpuzzled. I suspect that I’m going to be thinking about this a lot in the coming week. Please give me your thoughts in the comments.

Holidays In The Sun

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Actual footage of ‘healthier Russell Feathers’ watching this episode.

I can’t not mention the letters from home. Unexpected though it was when we’re not even half way through the season. To be honest when I saw them my first reaction was ‘I don’t care for this yet, they didn’t even have to compete for it, what the hell is going on?’. Within three minutes I was bawling my eyes out. Dang it Survivor you really know how to hit a brother right in the feelberries.

Next week actually sees me take a mid season break from published analysis for two episodes, but I’ll be back the following Sunday. Until then, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

(Most memes created by Russell Feathers, most everything else and all gifs Channel Ten)

Russell Feathers needs your help, especially if you’re an aspie. Do you have a knack for finding typos, spelling, or other grammatical errors? Do you love pointing them out? If you’re one of these hotshit people and have found anything above, please let me know here! (Neurotypicals not excluded)

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Episode 2 – ‘Dancing With Myself’ OR ‘Adam in Chains’

Make sure you have full awareness of the camp so that you have the best shot of finding idols. If you’re yet to read my analysis of episode 1 you can do so here.

Tonight it was all about the idols. Personally I feel that its a little too early in the game to introduce hidden immunity idols. However that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. This analysis is about the game more than it is about the show. And there was plenty of gameplay going on tonight. So let’s settle in to the spyshack and discuss what goes on at the well

Here He Come Now Saying Phony Phony

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“Jarrad will you be my wing-man? That would be the breast”

I had no idea what the hell went on in this episode. From the first sniff of this ridiculous idol, we knew we were in for a hectic ride tonight. Firstly, I’ve always loved the idea of a fake idol, so I’m glad someone’s having a crack at it. Here’s why it should never have happened this episode. For me the power of the fake idol is that it can create enough doubt to shift the focus off you when the pressure is on. Even if there is suspicion that you may have an idol it can be enough to get people jumpy enough to not risk voting you. Alternatively you give it to someone gullible enough to believe it’s an idol to gain their trust, influencing them to vote your way, while you stab them in the back. Either way, you use it when your back is against the wall and you need to create some misdirection.

“He may have felt on the out, but so did Kristie episode 2 so we know that feeling on the out is very different to actually having your chicken head on the chicken chopping block…”

The way that AK used it (or MRW, Male Rebel Wilson for those who read yesterday’s analysis), was clumsy, sketchy, and in my mind, ultimately unnecessary. From what I’ve seen, his back was not against the wall. He may have felt on the out, but so did Kristie episode 2 so we know that feeling on the out is very different to actually having your chicken head on the chicken chopping block (or in the chicken killing cone, that’s how I’ve always killed chickens). Speaking of chickens…

Chicken idol!! Who the shit believes such a thing? Well if we’re to believe the way that the show was edited, Jarrad apparently. Enough that the very next scene was Anneliese telling Aimee that the idol exists and that Jarrad has seen it. WOW.

Even if I don’t agree with MRW’s move here, you can’t deny that it hasn’t worked out the way he intended.

Idol Threats

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The fact that he was eliminated aside, I don’t know that Adam could have had a worse game tonight. It was a comedy of errors, some of which were under his control, others just bad luck.

Good on him thinking to look for an advantage with the reward, but after that it went downhill. Once he’s seen it, and realises that MRW has also seen it, for me his best move was to pull MRW aside, and come up with a plan to get the clue and find the idol together. I get that their relationship is not great, but this is the point where you suck it up and work with the enemy to gain an advantage. Even if that advantage is just knowing that somebody else has it, that’s power.

Regardless, he decides to get the clue another way, asking his alliance to distract MRW so Adam can get the clue. At least he found a way to do that, but now there’s five or six people that know about an idol clue rather than just two. That’s his next mistake.

Then he decides to go looking for the idol in full view of everyone. Why? There was no rush to get the idol. MRW didn’t have the clue. Not only that, based on the clue content, I don’t think he would have guessed where the idol was. Mistake.

We later learn that his quest is fruitless, so not only has he made everyone paranoid watching him on his hunt, he has nothing to show for it. Knowing that this looks bad he returns to his alliance and tries to convince them to find the idol so that ‘bugalugs’ can’t. So deep is his enmity for MRW that the thought that MRW might get the idol is enough to send him into a panic. In his panic, his plea for help comes off as a guilt trip and a threat to his alliance. Another mistake. This is terrible.

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Locky sacrifices the modesty of his tackle box in order to win a…. tackle box

Somehow word gets back to Locky and Ziggy (?), and Adam shows them the clue and they set off for the booty (Locky’s second booty experience this episode). Awaiting them there is only evidence suggesting that somebody has an idol. Adam’s panicked response to this, “vote me off” does the opposite of placating Locky and Ziggy, instead making them more suspicious that he’s playing them. Of all people to have thinking you’re acting suspicious, Locky is the worst. Seemingly he has more tribal influence than anyone else. I suspect that ultimately this stroke of bad luck is what sends Adam home.

(Male) Rebel (Wilson) Yell!

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In true MRW fashion he gives more, more, more. Completely overdoing it. Seemingly going utterly over the top by showing off his chicken idol. Then was all over the shop telling Anneliese bullshit about Adam, doing a what looks like a piss poor job of mending his relationship with Jarrad. To paraphrase the true idol of this post, Billy Idol, MRW seemed to be dancing with himself. How he got away with this is beyond me. The only thing I can think is that Adam’s relationships were so damaged, and everyone was so sketchy about cluegate that all trust was eroded. The other take, and the least likely for mine, but the reason I would likely base my decision on were I in that situation is that Adam is simply a bigger threat than MRW. At least with MRW you know that he’s full of shit. Adam on the other hand is a smoother talker and potentially has the ability to influence people. And he’s not as transparent as MRW so you don’t know what he’s thinking.

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Has MRW become the tribe’s loveable douchebag? The bullshit artist friend that you keep around because he’s harmless and provides laughs? He’s a regular Chunk from The Goonies. Whatever it is, people don’t seem to think he’s a threat to their game, and I thought the same until he pulled off tonight. Or maybe I’m wrong about that. Peter said during his vote that he thought MRW was a threat but that he had a better social connection with him, and that’s even after the homo question of last episode. This is all just a mystery to me, and I don’t know if that’s because I’m too obtuse to see what’s going on, or MRW is too erratic to pin down or we’re just not being shown enough in the edit to actually get a read on what’s happening. God only knows how MRW managed to get those people to vote against Anneliese, I’d love to hear your thoughts on that (tell me what you think in the comments below).

Shock To The System

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When MRW pulled that idol out, I said “YEAH”, yeah, “YEAH”, yeah (OK maybe that’s enough Billy Idol tonight…)

Much like that hairstyle, it’s about time I got off MRW. Even though I didn’t make a Billy Idol on The Wedding Singer joke! But one last thing. Playing the idol for Jarrad. I was blown away when he pulled that idol out. I jumped from the couch like friggin Tom Cruise. When he announced it was for Jarrad…

I.

Was.

Shocked.

Why the hell did he do that? Even if he knew the votes weren’t coming his way surely the smarter move is to keep the idol yeah? On reflection, I believe it is actually genius. Now that Adam was gone, and he didn’t play an idol, it would be assumed that someone must have it. Those fingers would be pointed square at MRW. Big target on his “beard” *heavily exaggerated air quotes*. So by giving it to Jarrad, he loses that target and also shows the tribe that he can be considered loyal and trustworthy and a team player. I really like the move. Sure he’s left without an idol, but he may have just won back some trust. Which is arguably more powerful.

Rock the Cradle of Love

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Hey little sister who’s your superman?

Before I finish off tonight I need to touch on a burgeoning showmance (ugh, I feel dirty after actually using that particular portmanteau). I’m talking of course about our very own Malcolm and Denise, Henry and Jacqui. I love these two as a duo. I can’t wait to see what the two of them cook up. Quick note on gameplay here, it looked like Zenry (incidentally did anyone else hear Zenry shout out “POWER” to his tribemates during the challenge like some sort of prayer to the yoga gods?) saw the clue before Jacqui did. If that’s the case then again I would argue that the better move here is to keep it to yourself. The less people that know about it and that you’re obligated to the better.

There was a lot going on this episode and I haven’t covered everything, but I’m not satisfied with Locky cheeks, I need some real nudity and so I’m off to watch Game of Boobs. I mean Boob of Thrones. You get the idea. I’ve got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

(Most memes created by Russell Feathers, most everything else and all gifs channel ten)

Episode 18 – ‘Get You Out of My Head’ OR ‘Gone a Night Like This’

If you want to read about how we got to our top ten before settling in for the ride, do so here.

Well that was a huge let down. After where we left our Survivors last week, with ten of them, tonight was the night to flip the numbers against Brick and El, obviously nobody has been reading my advice, idiots. And all the pre-show hype was about Sue’s big move. Which one was that again? We found out tonight that JL hasn’t lost her voice and does actually talk (yay). Hopefully this is the start of an upwards arc for her. Also tonight what could have been an interesting twist, seemed like it didn’t actually change a thing in the game. So grab your pole and smash your balls, let’s do this.

Exile Beach, Far Away in Time

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A split in the tribe? Nah not really
When it was revealed that the challenges bottom four would be sent to Exile Beach, I was not sure whether I liked that twist. I felt it would totally hamstring the players and not allow them to play the game the way that it is ‘meant’ to be played, taking away from those on the periphery any hope of forming a coup against those at the apex of the pyramid. Also with a number of the voting blocks unable to have the ability to come to agreement on their way to tribal, I assumed it would mean that we see tonight’s votes smattered across at least three people. How wrong I was. When we found out that there was an idol on the beach, I was a little more enthusiastic about the twist. Another idol in play is just what was needed to shake this game up, particularly in the hands of Matt or Sue. Flick went and dashed those hopes by insisting that no one look for the idol. Don’t get me wrong, this was a great play on her part. She’s said all along that she needs to be in control, and if there’s an idol out there she loses that control. An idol in the wrong hands would totally ruin her game, and its her game to lose given the tightness of Brick and El. It was disappointing to see Matt, Lee and Sue, just roll over on that and let Flick have her way. I understand that Lee doesn’t know any better, but Matt at least should be looking for that thing. If that puts a target on his back, it doesn’t matter for this vote as he has an idol. Moving to nine players after this episode you need to be on the side of five. The best shot you were going to have to break the BrickEl trio, was tonight, or next time if you’ve got an idol. Flick also has to get some credit for taking the time to talk to Lee and Matt while on Exile Beach, and try and at least calm them and reassure them that they were still in the top five alliance. She also did some spadework on Sue, though that was less successful (more on that later). Regardless, somehow everyone knew that the vote was heading for Kylie. I’m not sure whether this was the best move, or even how it shook down that way.

With a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend

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The closest Kylie came to an all-female alliance…

Is it better to keep Kylie in the mix or to cut her off now? Let’s see this vote from Brick’s perspective as they seemed to call that shot, and weigh the pros against the cons. Pros of keeping; she’s not going to vote against you; will let you know if someone comes to her to looking to flip; she’s unlikely to receive Jury votes; gives you the opportunity to remove Matt, Kristie or Sue from the game. Cons, strong in challenges; maybe Lee will suspect he’s not with you guys; if JL and Kylie are a voting block that may flip on BrickEl, prevents that from happening (big ‘if’ that we’ve no evidence for). Is that all for cons? I can’t see any others. In that case, it wasn’t the smartest move to get her out. Again without the ability to consult with everyone in your alliance, maybe it was best just to go with the easy vote. Though I do suspect that Kylie was always going to be the vote regardless of Exile Beach twist as we saw during the challenge a number of ladies say to each other, and to Sam, that it was imperative not to let Kylie win. This move however isn’t that bad for Sue, Kristie or Matt. This at least gives them one less number to go up against if they decide to aim for Brick. So what can they do to make the most of Kylie going?

Up Against a Brick Wall

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The front of the line, the apex of the pyramid, the angels of the Charlie
I’m building the pyramid in my head as I type to try and figure out where everyone stands. If I presume that Sue, Matt and Kristie are the bottom three and the only way any of them can make it to top three is to break the Brick in two, how can they do it? El, is tight with Brick. Lee seems to be the same as he doesn’t know any better. That then leaves JL and Sam to play with. That’s a five if they can get it together. From what we’ve seen of the next episode it seems that JL is ready to make this happen. Who knows where Sam stands? Again he showed that he is really not connected to Brick as he voted Sue. He didn’t know that the real target was Kylie. Maybe this is the catalyst that is needed for him to realise that he’s not in their gang. It’s only going to take a whisper from Matt for Sam to see that Brick is a snake, and it’s head needs to be chopped off. The head of course being Brooke. Hopefully Sam could then shut his trap enough not to fill Lee in on this as it’s possible that Lee would talk to El or Flick and give them the heads up. If ever there was a last chance for the bottom three, and even the middle three (Sam, Lee and JL) to flip it, now is the chance. If you let Brick and El remain to the final eight, it is going to require a lot of luck and for immunity wins to go your way to have a shot at the top three. I have to acknowledge at this point that it’s possible that my vision could be clouded by my dislike for Brick, perhaps it’s actually better for one or more of the bottom three to keep Brick there. I really can’t see it though. If you do, please let me know in the comments below.

El’s Belles

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Sitting pretty 
I also have to acknowledge that I’ve made a presumption that El wants to go to final three with Brick. It’s possible that her plan is to flip on them as we get closer to the end. For her sake I hope so. If she were to make it to final three with them, even if she wins the last immunity, that puts her up against either Brooke or Flick in the final two. Having not actually made any moves so far, it is incredibly unlikely that she would be beat Brooke, who not only has called the shots but seems to have formed pretty good personal relationships with most people who would be on the jury. It’s possible, but I would still say unlikely that she would beat Flick. Flick may receive more animosity from the jury, but she has still played the game hard and the jury may respect that. Both of these scenarios likely result in an El loss, so her best bet is to flip on Brick at some stage. Final five is that time though, not now. If she were to flip now she loses the security of that alliance and could easily find herself without any other security to hang on or and therefore easy pickings. Yeah, she needs to flip at five to have a shot at winning the game. I can’t wait to see what happens when the top three start to realise that they’re going to need to turn on each other soon. Particularly Flick. Flick can’t win if Brooke’s there, I hope for her sake she realises this before Brooke does.

A Perfect Fit

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Sue pledges Kappa Kappa Brick
Although we didn’t see the big move from Sue we were promised tonight, before I wrap this up I do have to give her some credit. When approached by Flick (incidentally that scene was, to quote Flick herself I believe, “awkward as” for Flick, watch it again here), Sue realised Flick was blowing smoke up her arse. And whether it was by accident or design, her response to Flick was “my ambition is to make it to top six” was genius. That is, I would imagine, exactly what Flick wants to hear. Again, whether by accident or design, her vote for Kylie may have helped to solidify Flick’s impression of her loyalty. Sue needs to spend the next two days subtly reassuring Flick that she will vote with Flick to the top six, so it is less likely that Flick will see the vote coming against Brick.

If all goes as predicted, tomorrow night could be a great episode. Unfortunately it could also be another boring episode of The Brick Show. Guess we’ll find out soon enough. Until then, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 19 analysis here!

Episode 1 – ‘Gen X-Wings vs Millennial Falcons’ OR ‘It’s a TARP!’

SPOILER ALERT! The discussion below contains spoilers of season 33 episode 1.

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Welcome to the 33rd seasons of Survivor US, also known simply as Survivor. We have two tribes Vanua (Millennials) and Takuli (Gen – X). Though I think production may be playing a little fast and loose with their tribe definitions (I’d love to know the age gap between the oldest millennial and the youngest gen -x’er (someone can google that for me)) they are certainly playing any perceived differences between these arbitrary definitions for all they can. Regardless of real, imagined, or manufactured differences between these tribes, so far it looks like we’ve got some cool characters this season and at least one interesting twist ahead.

THE LEGACY ADVANTAGE DA DA DUUUMMM!!

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“Um excuse me Jeff, can we get our personal items before we evacuate, I’d hate to leave a legacy behind”

So the legacy advantage is an unknown advantage for the holder on day 31? Did I get that right? The finder of the legacy advantage must ‘will’ it to another player should they leave the game. I couldn’t begin to speculate on what that advantage may be, the possibilities are endless. And I would argue that the fun of this particular twist is not in the revealing of the advantage, but in following its travels from person to person and seeing how they use it. It looks like we may have already seen it trying to be leveraged by Jessica (good work spotting and hiding that by the way Jessica!). Did anyone else think that when David approached her and told her that he didn’t have a hidden immunity idol that she was going to suggest pooling of advantages? Is that where we were supposed to think she was going with that? Can’t wait to see how this advantage is going to be leveraged throughout the game and if people are going to try and find sneaky ways of getting their hands on it once they know about it. The other question we have is how does the ‘willing’ work? Is that done openly so everyone now knows about the advantage and who has it? Or is it done behind the scenes? The answer to that my friends, is blowing in the wind…

Biggest Twist(er) in Survivor History

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So, unless there’s something I’ve completely missed this is the first time we’ve had the game put on hold and all participants evacuated due to safety concerns. I guess it was pretty serious. I personally would have loved to have seen just where they spent the night and how that could affect the game. I’m imagining there was much debate among production about whether or not they would show that as showing it could pull the viewer out of that Survivor experience. It’s just something that happens so rarely that I’d imagine all Survivor nerds would love to see that. I do wonder if it means that the game will be a day or so longer.

Short Cut Short Cut Short Cut

Tonight we heard the phrase ‘short cut’ used more times in the space of 5 minutes than it is used in a year at the military barber. Not that I’m saying I didn’t like this facet of the challenge. In fact I really dug it. Any time that they can give the players more choices in a challenge, it instantly makes it more interesting, unless everyone makes the same choices. Thankfully in this case the tribes chose slightly different strategies, and it just gave us one more thing to talk about around the water-cooler. I’m very happy with the first immunity challenge. Takali is sent to tribal and thus continues The David Show.

Power, Wisdom, Courage, and….. OK Scrap the Wisdom

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“Kill the dorks. Bash their butts. Kick their shins

Before we return to The David Show, here’s a message from Nintendo. Since when can you add a fourth to your Triforce and still have a Triforce? And just how useful is a Triforce of four in a tribe of 10? Especially when you have a couple of people as sharp as Hannah (this season’s Aubry?) and Mari who can instantly recognise when they’re being left out, and who also know that this is a numbers game. And though Figgy is in with the cool kids, from what we’ve seen so far, she seems to have the nous to know when to flip out. I can’t wait to see how this particular battle plays out. Regardless, unlike the current series of Australian Survivor that I feel like has been going on for a year, our US participants hit the ground running and start trying to form alliances and voting blocks early. Millennial particularly, who have grown up with the show.

Oh Crap!

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David. Never lied about being The Outdoor Type

Regular readers of my Australian Survivor analysis will know that this is where I like to talk through the moves that a number of players have made and what they can and should do to move ahead in the game and get to the end. As we’re only in episode one and haven’t really seen much of the tribe dynamics it’s too early to enter that discussion with any confidence. I can say, and I’m sure many of you will agree with me, that David is and will be (if he sticks around) fun to watch. I wasn’t sure what to make of his comments at tribal when he realised that people didn’t trust him and speculated on whether he had an idol, he said something like ‘this is a test’. I’m wondering if he was referring to anything specific that perhaps Bret, Jessica and Chris had said to him. I do wonder if one or more of them set some sort of trustworthiness test, and had him vote a particular way. As skittish as the guy is, he still seemed to me to be a likeable guy, and one that could be fun to have around camp, certainly more so than Rachel (crazy eyes personified). We did get a snippet of a discussion from, I think it was Bret, Chris and Ken(?), saying that they would not tell David, CeCe, or Rachel which way they were voting. Given how paranoid he is, and without any sort of security in knowledge of where the votes might land, I’ve no doubt that if David had an idol he would have played it. Perhaps this was the aforementioned test to which David referred. By not playing an idol, those guys know that he was telling the truth when he said he didn’t have an idol, and perhaps now feel that they can trust him. That logic is a little screwy, but maybe he will pay back their trust with some loyalty and they all can live happily ever after in their rebel alliance (I know that doesn’t really work but I was already committed to the Star Wars puns so it stays). As much as I and clearly the tribe found Rachel annoying, I’m not convinced that I would have voted her over David. If David is that skittish and flighty and volatile days 1-4, are you sure you’re going to be able to reign him in over the coming 35 days so that you can solidly depend on him? He also does not seem like he’s going to be an asset in the physical challenges that is for sure. I guess it’s a credit to his self-awareness to recognise that he was coming off as paranoid and unreliable, and then have the social chops to still be able to connect with those guys enough that they at least have some degree of faith in him.

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“D’ya see that Wilson, I made fire”

I couldn’t end this post without mentioning Zeke. What a rad dude! It was such a great moment for him when he created fire. We don’t yet know what he is going to be like gameplay wise, but certainly as far as watchability, he’s going to be very entertaining. Until next week, I got nothing else fo you, head back to camp.

Episode 17 – ‘Tea & Sympathy’ OR ‘Jury Duty’

If you are yet to read about phase 1 of Sam’s diabolical plan, you can do so here.

We have our first Jury member, and my first and only prediction thus far (that Nick would not win) has been realised. Another long, long, episode, what the hell Channel Ten? Anyhow, as much as I love ‘letters from home’, I’d prefer to discuss the strategy and gamesmanship on show tonight. So let’s get into it.

Snakes and Leaders

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“If only I hadn’t made up that fugging clue poem….”
Goodbye Nick. For mine you were the most entertaining player this season. But boy did you have a bad shake. While I’ve thought for some time that Nick really hasn’t been very deceitful (idol clue aside), unfortunately the guy is so enthusiastic and plays the game at full tilt 100% of the time, he just comes across as devious. Clearly a very intelligent guy, I got the feeling he just wanted to share his great ideas with his tribemates. I get it Nick. I’ve been there. Everybody calls me arrogant but the truth is I just come off that way because I’m a fucking genius. You just couldn’t help yourself. I didn’t mention it in my previous post but there was a perfect example of this in last night’s episode. Nick did a piece to camera where he says, and I quote “I’m just going to blend into the background, just be a number” and literally the very next scene he tells his alliance his idea of how best to split the vote. Your enthusiasm is a curse my friend. Wannabe Survivors take this as a cautionary tale. If you’re as enthusiastic and strategic as Nick, you’re going to want to keep that in check and try, as hard as it may be, to not stand out in the crowd.

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Nick holds court in his last ever tribal, as a competitor.
With the way Nick started the season we knew that he would not be long for this game, and I’m not sure whether there was anything he could have done to make it much further. After last night’s tribal council he did a piece to camera telling us that he had fifteen ideas of how he could get revenge for the votes that were sent his way. Revenge is something that is certainly not new to Nick, and I for one have been surprised, given the bitter things he has had to say about JL and Sue, that he actually hasn’t seemed to be gunning for them now that he’s actually had to attend tribal councils. We also saw him do a piece to camera tonight where he told us he was tossing up whether or not to just try and sure up his relationships by being nice, or whether he was going to enact his “scorched earth policy”. When it seemed that he had slept on it and chosen the former, I thought, ‘great job buddy’. He then followed that up with some really frank and genuine conversations with Sam & Lee, which I thought was brilliant. These conversations were very different to the conversations that he had with JL and Sue when they joined Saanapu. He did a great job of showing himself as a human, human guy. The fact that he shared an emotional and touching reward with them probably helped. Obviously as much as I loved to see it, it didn’t seem to sway Sam in his conviction that Nick is a snake and has to go. So I’m not sure he could have done much more.

If Nick could see Matt was on the outer before going to tribal, why didn’t he approach Matt and see if they could flip it?

I was surprised at tribal when he outed Matt as not having his finger in the Brick pie as much as he thinks he does, and my partner said to me, “well why didn’t he talk to Matt about this before tribal?” Good point, why didn’t he? I guess he thought that he had come up with his plan, and he didn’t need to. By his own admission however, he realised that the plan he had come up with was digested too easily by his tribemates. Very astute Nick. Why he didn’t act on this feeling I don’t know, but in hindsight maybe a word with Matt would have been a good idea. I guess it couldn’t have hurt. Either that or go to Brick, who he tells us he feels closest with, and try and flip the vote off him. It was clear to us that Flick didn’t want him to go, and Brooke thought it wasn’t ideal. Perhaps an impassioned plea to keep him, but also showing those guys why it would be beneficial to get someone out other than he may have actually persuaded Flick to do more than just think about it. Not sure anybody was ready to flip on Sam yet.

Tearjerk

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I thought Sam was supposed to be one of the good guys?! Damn did we see a lot of spite from him tonight. Behaving very emotionally. It almost looked like he had convinced himself that Nick was a bad guy more than anyone else. Like he got this little idea in his head (thanks Kate) of Nick’s character and then talked himself into Nick being this season’s ‘big bad’ and that he was doing everyone a favour, and his tribe’s will by evicting him. In my eyes Sam really didn’t come off as the good guy that he thinks he is with his performance this episode. And what was with him asking J-LaP if the losers of reward could get their letters as well? Was that supposed to be him being the good guy as well, because that’s not the way it came off at all. Kristie is the one who won friends out of that little scenario (more on that later). Anyhow, given his performance in the last two episodes I can make prediction number two. Sam will not win this game. Not only has he shown that he is spiteful the last couple of episodes, but he’s confirmed what we already thought, and that is that he just does not have a head for Survivor in this season. That’s not to say he’s not smart enough to play the game, I’m not saying that at all, hell he got in and I didn’t. What it is saying though is that going into this game he was not aware of some of the basic strategy that we usually expect from our Survivors. Whether he wins or not, having now been there I’m sure he knows more about that strategy now. Where to now for our other big players?

Flick

Flick told us she wanted to keep Nick around, and that made sense for her while he was one of her numbers. I must say though I really liked her way of trying to make that happen without drawing attention to herself. To just try and quietly shift the votes to Sue was really, really smart. She has clearly been reading my analysis and knows that for her it’s not quite time to rock the boat yet, that there’s a few other people that can quietly be shown the exit door before she needs to start making any big moves. Good job Flick. We still don’t know exactly where JL is, and with Kylie as a floater, it will be time very soon to start making some more strategic decisions about how to make it further, who to cut before they cut her, and how the pecking order in her tight three is going to resolve itself and who she would want to go to the final two with. Perhaps her and Brooke already have this plan, my suggestion is to start making those moves if not at next tribal then the tribal after, before Sam, Lee and especially Matt do something about the power that your trio has in the game.

Kristie

We’ve seen Survivors sacrifice their reward in order to perhaps strengthen bonds within the tribe in the past. And more often than not it is seen as less of a heartfelt gift and more of a ploy to curry favour. While I am sure that in the case of Kristie giving her reward to Matt, she did not do it in order to be in his or anyone else’s good books, what a result it had. Usually the ploy is incredibly transparent and does not work at all, with the person going home very soon after. Matt however told us he would be forever in Kristie’s debt and Kristie gained a game-long ally. Nice work Kristie. As far as what you need to do with that, your timing perhaps couldn’t be better. Now that Matt’s eyes have been opened to his place in the tribe, it’s time to use that alliance to do some good. If you can hook up with Matt, Sue and JL(?) then that’s a solid voting block to dismantle either SamLee or BrickEl. Again, we don’t know where JL is at, but as you and Sue are such easy pickings at the moment you really need to move soon. Like, next episode, heed my warning lady.

Matt

Matt, if you didn’t know it before you certainly should now, you are no longer Charlie’s Angels’ Charlie. You’re more like, well, if Brick are Velma and Daphne, you’re Shaggy. They don’t need you buddy, in their eyes you will just get in their way. So what do you do about it? Harness those people on the periphery and move against Brick pronto. When Kate spelled out to SamLee where they are, and that Nick was higher up the totem pole than them, I’ve no doubt that they saw that Brick were at the top and Brick will have to slice them at some stage. Hopefully SamLee will move with you against Brick, and I’m sure that at least Sue and Kristie will too. Unfortunately it seems Lee has completely lost El to Brick, but perhaps Sue could convince JL to join them. That would give you the six you need to make it happen. Kylie? I wouldn’t tell her shit. In making this move though it is important that Brick feel safe. The first thing you need to do is go to them and talk to them bout what Nick had said, and not confront them per se, but just have a nice chat with them, tell them you’re still tight with them. You really need them feeling comfortable now and strike now, because within a couple of episodes they will shift out of coast mode where they just pick off the low hanging fruit, and into big move mode to get rid of big threats. Now really is the time for everyone on the periphery to start thinking about what they can do, and how they can be used by bigger players, to start making some game-changing moves. If you can form a six against four, and a solid three within that six, that could be the path to the final three, and if you’re lucky, final two. I wold love to hear other people’s thoughts about this in the comments below.

Tonight will also see the start of Channel Ten publishing their ‘Ponderosa’ videos. We’ll get a glimpse into the lives and the thinking of the jury as they live on island while the rest of the game plays out. Good on you Channel Ten for going here, that’s something a lot of fans love and crave. I’ll probably check them out and consider whether they may be worthy of discussing in this analysis ongoing. If you want to check them out you can check out the first episode featuring Nick here:


I couldn’t end this post without acknowledging a couple of delicious things Nick did in tribal tonight. Firstly, his comment directly at Sue as he wrote her name down. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anyone do that so explicitly before, and it was absolutely delicious. Secondly, he pulled the old ‘idol fake out’. Every time I’ve ever seen this it comes off as cheap and naff. Nick made it hilarious. He knew he was going and really wanted to leave with a laugh. It was classic Nick and he left us all with a smile on our face. I hope we see you again Nick, I really do. Preferably in person on island. I would LOVE to play with and against you. Keep being you brother. In my heart, you’ll always be one of the good guys. As for the rest of you, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 18 analysis here!

Episode 16 – ‘Goodies vs Baddies’ OR ‘Fair Game’

If you’re yet to check out my analysis of the previous episode, make like Kristie and float on over here.

A fantastic episode tonight and we finally see the best that Kate has to offer. Unfortunately this was derailed by arguable this season’s two biggest knuckleheads, Sam and Kylie, with more than a little help from Lee. Kate certainly went out with a bang. Let’s get straight into it.

Pyramid Scheme

As I mentioned above, tonight really was a cracking episode of The Kate Show. Throughout the season Kate has shown us just how strong a competitor she is physically and emotionally in challenges (puzzles aside). Over the last few episodes though we have seen glimpses of great strategic and social game play from Kate and she was certainly starting to pop up on a few fans’ radars as one to watch moving forward. Tonight, when she needed it most, she really shone. So what did she do tonight that was so great I hear you ask? And to that I say, seriously? Why are you asking that, wasn’t it obvious? Firstly, she recognised that she was on the chopping block (there’s gotta be a better metaphor we can use in these situations, please comment below if you have one you’d like me to use in the next post). She also recognised that it was going to be difficult to really form any relationships that would save her. But she knew that she had to find a crack somewhere. In the previous episodes we caught a glimpse of her trying to assemble the avengers and create a team of goodies. It didn’t play out her way last night (she voted against one of her own good guys in Kylie, what was that about?). So she has a more concerted crack at it here tonight. Firstly she chats with Kylie, to at least get some idea of who the good guys are. Kylie of course gives her that info but is as non-committal as ever about flipping, and wisely Kate doesn’t push it as I’m guessing she suspects that because Kylie herself is such a good guy, she’d run and tell her ‘alliance’ (OMJ I can’t not laugh as I type that Kylie has an alliance). Given what happened later we know that she’d be absolutely right about that.

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“Sammy no likey this story”
Kate then takes her opportunity to talk Sam and Lee, as she sees it, the two other good guys in The Pu. How serendipitous that they should be the two that were left at camp with Kate. The way she plays them though was a joy to behold. Knowing that she couldn’t just say ‘let’s form an alliance’, she spells it out to them another way. In fact, you might say she paints for them a pretty clear picture. “This is how I see it as an outsider” she says or something to that effect, drawing Sam and Lee a map of the structure of their so-called alliance and their place in it. So she didn’t say, you should do this or that, she draws them a picture. To make it as easy as possible for these Neanderthals to understand she makes it a simplistic little cave drawing (I shouldn’t be too hard on these guys, they seem like beautiful, wonderful, inspirational people, but when it comes to Survivor they aren’t the most strategic thinkers in tribe). So Kate let’s them see their place in their own alliance, and also see how devious and manipulative their so-called allies are. It worked an absolute treat on those two and thus begins a chain of events that almost sees the departure of our good friend Nick.

Unfortunately, all the great individual work aside, it’s hard to soar like an eagle when you’re surrounded by Sam and Kylie.

The other simply ingeniously delicious thing that Kate does, is at close to tribal time, she pulls Nick aside and begs for help. Firstly her performance was flawless, she really came off to Nick as someone who is almost resigned to their fate and hoping for a miracle. It lulls Nick into a false sense of security so that he may be less likely to play his idol. It also pulls Nick away from his allies and the rest of the tribe so that there is less opportunity for him to see that maybe there are some shady things going on around camp. Some classic keep your eye on my left hand while I sharpen the knife with my right. Matt couldn’t perform better misdirection than this (at least we haven’t seen him do so). Unfortunately, all the great individual work aside, it’s hard to soar like an eagle when you’re surrounded by Sam and Kylie.

The Goon Show

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“We’re here to fight crime and chew snails and we’re all out of snails”
Again, I don’t want to be too hard on Sammy, at least he gave it a crack tonight, but it’s clear he doesn’t know how this game works. Even Barry would have figured it out by now. Damn I hope he doesn’t win. Ok, so, when Sammy sees the cave painting, you could almost see the light bulb light up in his head. He finally (kind of) understood that it wasn’t all about just being a nice bloke, as some of those others he consorts with are less than savoury types. This dude does not abide such duplicity and dishonesty. He picks up his adamantium shield and decides he needs to do something about this, the good people of Australia deserve better! And he goes about trying to consolidate the team. His conversation with Kristie was awkies. Kristie seemed to just be sitting there listening to them and waiting for them to get to their point and thinking ‘you don’t have to pussyfoot around guys, just tell me what you’re thinking’. But Sam skirting around the issue isn’t direct enough for Lee, who has to interject with some locker room words of wisdom. I can’t remember exactly what it was he said but it felt cheesy and overly earnest to me. Kristie is obviously moved by their appeal, as she responds, ‘whatever’ (I’m paraphrasing here).

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See what I did there?
Next on their recruitment drive is Kylie, and when I saw Sam take her off into the bushes I was thinking “good work Sam, leaving Kylie until last and doing it just before tribal”. But that wasn’t the case was it? No no no no no no no. Time for our next spaced cadet to shine. Perhaps I missed a scene or perhaps it was left on the cutting room floor. The part where Sam said to Kylie, “Hey K, would you mind running off to Brick and telling them all about our plans because then they’ll really like you and you can be with the cool kids and they will probably now put you at the top of their alliance as reward for your honesty and loyalty”. Kylie, you should be so lucky (see what I did there?) Dear reader, I hope you pick up on the sarcasm here, I know I can be a little too subtle sometimes. Incidentally, how delicious was it to watch Nick stride by in the background while Sam is trying to get Kylie to vote for him. Love your work Nick.

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“You didn’t see me. Roight?”
Needless to say, I don’t think this was a wise move for Kylie. Well, it’s not the right side to align with. Brick will cast you aside like I did my cassingle of Locomotion in 1989 (see what I did there?). Here’s an example that illustrates the extent of Kylie’s awareness in this game. Kylie tells us at one point, “they (Brick) just want to pick off other players one by one just so they can keep the numbers in this game” So, you mean, like, play Survivor? That’s literally the object of the game. At least we did see Sam say to Kylie that he would take all the heat for the flip, I thought that was clever. Clever way of helping Kylie to make her decision and not feel as though there will be personal consequences for her, but also a good approach for him to manage the fallout with his alliance once the deed was done. Then he goes and spoils it all by piping up at tribal council, seemingly unsolicited, telling everyone that Nick is a ‘snake’, throwing Nick more shade than a tree full of blue whales on a cloudy day. Not that Nick needed that much shade. All Sam did was a little bit of spadework and then Nick snatched that shovel from him, and in true Nick form announced “that’s not how you dig my grave, this is how you do it!! Dig dig dig dig… Well if Nick wasn’t going to play his idol before this, he sure is now. Perhaps, Sam actually knew that Nick wasn’t going to get enough votes anyway and so was actually trying to make him flush the idol. In that case, mission accomplished. Had Nick not played his idol however all they needed though was Lee’s vote and a tie would have been forced, and who knows how tribal would have ended then.

Ball Spinner

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“To be honest J-LaP, I’m OVER it” (see what I did there?)
Damn there were some hypnotic balls on the episode tonight, and few more more hypnotic or rhythmic than Lee’s. I would expect nothing less from a man whose profession is to literally stand out in the sun and concentrate on balls. ‘Twas such a shame that Lee couldn’t stick with the plan and roll with team good guy tonight. Though I do think, once Kylie had outed Sam’s plan, it was a good move for Lee to make like Shane Warne and throw a flipper, flipping straight back to Brick and The Pu. Had he gone with team good guy he stood to lose a whole lot more than Sam. He seemingly had pretty good relationships with El and JL, who may have chosen to stick with Brick had the plan gone through. Also, all the heat for the move seemed to be directed at Sam (fair enough, he always said he would take all the blame), and Lee seems to have come out unscathed. I would imagine that had Lee flipped and joined the good guys proper, if Nick were to play his idol and still be in the game, with Kate gone the numbers are actually still against the good guys. I suspect from here he’ll just keep playing the way he has been. Playing it safe and sticking close to his pals. This should at least see him through a few more tribals until he becomes too much of a threat in challenges and get’s headhunted the first time he loses immunity, or makes it to the end. He’s actually a solid chance of winning when I look at it like that. Shame, I personally don’t find him particularly interesting though I’m sure there are thousands of you out there that do (good one DYB, like there’s thousands of people out there reading this).

Hail Hydra

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Ummm, I’m not sure that is how it works…
If Sam is leading a charge for the good guys, then I guess that makes Brick and Nick the snake, the baddies. Again Brooke needs to get some credit here. She’s clearly created enough of a perception of an alliance in Kylie’s mind that Kylie feels the right thing to do is confide in her (see what I did there? – well that’s it, unless we see Kylie come out in some gold hot pants, I’m afraid I’ve used up all the Kylie references I have for the season). So good job Brooke. I know they said it themselves (Brooke says “we just won Survivor”, not sure if you’ve seen Survivor before B-roller, but I don’t think there’s ever been a season where more than one person has won), and I hate them for it, but at this point it really does seem like it’s Brick’s game to lose. They are a super tight two and seem a super tight three with El, plus they have JL and Kylie working for them. If they can keep their shit together and have luck on their side we should see at least one of them in the top two.

Regardless of what Nick does, he certainly has some work to do to make it to the end, even the other baddies think he’s a baddy.

Though Nick feels like his head is on the chopping block, it seems that he is safe for at least one more tribal as Sue and Kristie are still there, and perhaps people may feel less comfortable around Sam now. That may be Nick’s best play from here, stick with his current alliance to get rid of Sue and Kristie, then before the finger is pointed his way, he could either make a move against Sam, hoping that Brick and the others now have a sour Sam taste in their mouth after tonight. Or, perhaps he could actually join with Sam, draw him a picture showing him that the women are currently the ones with the power and start trying to brea the brick wall. Regardless of what he does, he certainly has some work to do to make it to the end, even the other baddies think he’s a baddy. That’s bad. Where to now then for some of our other people in a tight spot?

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bumblehead

While Kristie’s floating is a good plan, it will only work for so long, and historically even if you do get to the end that way, without making any big moves you will struggle to get jury votes. We’ve already seen from both Lee and El that they have a soft spot for Kristie, and she’s well-liked enough to be one of the pink ladies. I can see her forming an alliance with Lee and El, and possibly Sam to turn on Brick and Matt when they’re ready. In fact, if she sticks with Sue, then they are a solid two numbers that are up for grabs, and we all know that two is better than one, THAT’S NUMBERWANG!

Matt

Magic Matt seems to be off the radar at the minute. I suspect he is biding his time to strike against his angels. Not sure who he’s going to use for that particular mission though. Perhaps he’s actually planning to stick with Brick for as long as he can. Unfortunately for him it seems El has taken his spot in that particular threesome. Could he possibly take Kylie under his wing, stick with the angels but form a sub alliance with K, and somehow stick it to the angels before they stick it to him? I’m having trouble seeing a path for him at the moment, I guess we need to see some more from him to know where his head is at. Similarly for JL, I feel like we haven’t really heard from her since Nick gave her fashion advice on the beach. One to look out for.

Well, I think that is probably the longest post so far from me this season, I guess it was a worthy episode. Until next time, I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers 

Episode 17 analysis here!

Episode 15 – ‘Get a Grip on that Pole’ OR ‘Show Us Your Pink Bits’

I’m not going to beg you, but if you want to check out my analysis of episode 14 before you dive into episode 15, you can do that here.

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It really was very nice of J-LaP to give me a shout-out tonight, thanks brother
Merge is here and in the words of Robert Pollard “now the fun begins”. Not that we haven’t been having fun for the past 33 days, but as we all know, the games shifts post-merge and tonight was as good an indication as any of how crazy things can get once it becomes even more of an individual game. And with a thirteen person tribe (the largest in Survivor history) things are even a little crazier than usual. What better place to start our discussion than with Sam’s ‘good kid’, Conner.

Fall-out Boy (think about it, that works on so many levels, I’m quite proud of myself)

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Barely hanging in there…
Conner was loved by many and in turns made us both smile and cringe. His mixture of youthful naivety, and puppy-dog playfulness, and earnestness in the face of unfamiliarity brought him many a fan. Unfortunately, while he was the New Kid On The Block, he did not have The Right Stuff….baby. His failure to pull together any sort of alliance in this episode saw him come undone. We all know however that this wasn’t the only failing that led to his downfall. Aside from turning on Bianca back in episode 2 (had he not done that Saanapu would have been very different) I would argue that his exploits in episode 5 when he tried to turn the tables on Flick and call some people out on their duplicities really sowed the seeds for his departure tonight. He never really recovered any ground in the eyes of the original Pu, and while I don’t think they necessarily were out for revenge, they knew he was volatile and his unpredictability could destroy their games. He struggled to find his feet after being exiled to Vavau in episode 5, finally finding what looked to be a solid two with Kate in episode 14 (who should forget that trust ceremony, nawww). Well that was over before the honeymoon had even begun! We didn’t see either of the newlyweds have a family meeting and try and balance the family budget. Conner’s crucifixion isn’t all his own baby-jesus faced fault.

What the Hell Vavau?

So let me get this straight, Sue, Conner, Kate and Kristie voted Matt, Nick, Kylie and Conner respectively? And Saanapu voted exactly to their suggested five-four split? So much for Kate’s “We need to get the good guys together, AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!” What were Vavau hoping to gain from voting individually? We saw a glimmer of game in Sue when she said something like ‘I’m not happy about it and I’m going to do something about it’, I was thinking ‘about time, what magic are we going to see from Nanna’, and she didn’t do shit. Very disappointing. How they voted aside, we didn’t really see them scramble at all. All we saw was Conner try and talk to Sam. He couldn’t do that the way he wanted to, then effectively just said ‘oh well’ and shrugged his shoulders. Maybe he was coming down after all that sugar. Given he didn’t get the pre-tribal conversations he was hoping for I thought that we’d at least see a last ditch effort from him to blow shit up at tribal and drop some truth bombs about Nick (which we expect would have backfired anyway given he has an idol), but he just lay down, even through a J-LaP grilling. J-LaP gave him every opportunity to stir shit up and out Nick (I would even argue J-LaP went too far with it), but he just seemed, much like the jesus he apparently resembles, like a dead man walking.

Will the Real Slim Shady Please Stand Up

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“socially, strategically, economically, spiritually”…there’s no denying the man can rap.
What were these guys doing for 3 days after the merge that they didn’t get a sense of where the tensions lay in Saanapu? They could have and should have been spending time figuring out where they could drive a wedge or split a seam or plant a seed or frack the Murray-Darling basin that is Saanapu. I was pretty confident that once we hit the merge we would see a coup against Nick. We’ve seen plenty of times in Survivor when a tribe hasn’t been to tribal for a while, they almost relish being able to finally do so, just so that they can get the person out who has been shitting them for so long. Nick is that person. Earlier in the episode when he kind of started calling the shots (more on this in a bit) I thought to myself ‘wow, what has he done to be able to turn things around for and really ingratiate himself into this tribe’. Shortly after that we got about three or four snippets of conversation or pieces to camera with Saanapuans revealing they think he is a snake and want him gone. Why then did they go for Conner? I guess Conner has proven himself to be flaky, whereas Nick on the other hand, actually hasn’t shown anything concrete to them in terms of flakiness. Yeah he comes off as shady, but unlike C-dog he hasn’t actually done anything shady. I mentioned above that he was calling the shots so to speak, but that was only after asking The Pu what they wanted to do. He then just told them how to do it.

Good Game

So far I’ve talked a lot about the shite gameplay this episode, but did we see anything good? Hmmm, the strongest player that comes to mind is Brooke. Brooke is someone that has slowly but surely worked her way into a solid position in this game over the last couple of weeks. Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to be invited to contribute to my favourite Australian Survivor podcast to discuss the season thus far (you can listen on Soundcloud and iTunes) and Brooke was certainly someone who was brought up as a possible end game player in that discussion. This was confirmed this episode when not only did she win immunity, we saw her involved in all of the major conversations, either there organically because she had grown alliances with the right people, or inserting herself into conversations that weren’t hers to be in to make sure shit didn’t go awry (possibly the most awkward conversation we’ve seen so far). Gold star for robot girl (to bastardise Robert Pollard).

Where to from here?

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The happy family?
With twelve people left in the game I am not going to run through possible moves for every player. As I mentioned in my analysis of the previous episode the best thing for anyone to do so early in the post-merge and with so many players in the game, is to lay low and let the tall poppies stick their necks out (#analogymashup #beenlisteningtoandrewtoomuch). Admittedly, there has been a show of solidarity from Saanapu in the first vote, but surely, the cracks have to appear eventually. As viewers we can see those Saanapu crack, I’d imagine that Vavau will see those Saanapu cracks before too long. If they don’t become visible by themselves, a pointed question or two from Sue will elucidate them.

Other Points of Interest

Nick has an idol. Lee has an advantage. How these came about was interesting. We had the classic Survivor auction. A Survivor staple. Though I’ve never seen it with 13 players before. Usually in these cases we see players fall over themselves to try and get the advantage/s from the auction. Tonight was the opposite. Lee’s advantage was probably the cheapest auction advantage in Survivor history at $80. Nick really protested upon discovering what he had bought was an advantage. I guess it comes down to where in the season the auction is. At this stage, people don’t wan’t to be seen to have an advantage because they don’t want to have targets on their backs. In the past when we’ve seen auctions and they have been later in the game, advantages are more advantageous, you need something to get you through just one more tribal. Regardless, Nick’s advantage is an idol clue and he really wastes no time in finding that idol. Lee catches him looking and Nick is left with no choice but to involve Lee in the looking. At this point I wondered if maybe Nick thought both their advantages were clues to the same idol and they had to race to get it. After finding it he shares it with Lee. I’m not convinced that this was a good move. To me it looked like he had an opportunity to pocket it without Lee knowing. He could then have kept looking and Lee could back up his story that he hadn’t found it. He could have continued to share the clue with his alliance (gaining their trust) and kept looking. I’m not sure how long one could keep this up for though. Either way, he’s got an idol, I can’t wait to see how he uses (or misuses) it. I’m sure he said he was going to share it with his alliance but I don’t think I actually saw him tell anyone but Lee he had it. Maybe I missed a scene, you can correct me in the comments below.

Lee’s advantage is a little more interesting in that it is not so common. Though we’ve seen this advantage in previous seasons, I think we’re yet to see it used effectively. Unfortunately with it being in Lee’s hands, it looks like we may not see that this season either. I’d be happy to be proven wrong and to watch Lee use it to bowl a maiden over. I’m hoping that maiden is Flick.

Pink bracelets. Actually I think the less said about that the better.

Now that Saanapu has Conner out of their system I’m really interested to see how the individual game shakes down and maybe see what some of these sleeper players in Lee, El, and JL, and even Matt can do. Sammy’s a fuggin’ write off. I got nothing else for you, head back to camp.

– Russell Feathers

Episode 16 analysis here!